The following is a selection from the upcoming book, The Blue Agave Revolution: Poetry of The Blind Rebel, from anti-colonial political prisoner Oso Blanco.
The Blue Agave Revolution: Poetry of The Blind Rebel is a collaboration among radical author, indigenous freedom-fighter, and political prisoner Oso Blanco (aka Byron Shane Chubbuck, aka Robin The Hood) and Michael Novick–a Brooklyn-born veteran of SDS/Prairie Fire Organizing Committee, the John Brown Anti-Klan Committee, publisher of Turning The Tide journal, and all-around tireless anti-fascist activist–along with numerous contributors who have supported, and continue to support, Oso Blanco over the years spanning his imprisonment.
A joint work of poetry and speculative/magical realist fiction, The Blue Agave Revolution: Poetry of the Blind Rebel is also profusely illustrated with historical and contemporary photos and artwork by Oso Blanco and others. Its 300 pages contain tales of the historical Mexican Revolution of 1910-20, reports and analysis of the contemporary struggle for Indigenous sovereignty, freedom, and a better world, and imaginings of what future struggles may look like.
Imprisoned by the US government for expropriating funds from banks in support of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), Oso Blanco continues to use his art to fulfill his mission. At Oso Blanco’s request, all funds from sale of the book will help fund The Children’s Art Project in support of the children in Chiapas.
In Oso Blanco’s Own Words:
We can all recognize the beauty of the land and the cultures of indigenous nations that developed and grew since before time immemorial.
My task and intention with this book is to write various people into history who affected my life in the years of my anarchism as a native anarchist, and into my own experiences in Mexico where the beautiful Mexican peoples cherish their REAL culture’s history and folklore, the realities of which Mexican indigenous peoples wrote and spoke into timeless stone carvings, paintings, Shaman medicines, and the creation of Pulque.
My politics are radical and in the heart where freedom is alive. Are we all not as the Blind Rebel is at some point in our walk upon this EARTH?
OR are we living as some other wants us to? I seek to live for the medicine of change, ending our suffering and oppression.
From the Book
The following is the introduction from the The Blue Agave Revolution: Poetry of The Blind Rebel.
November 1912. In his small pueblo in northern Jalisco, Mexico, the humble blind agave farmer spent his days in peace. The land he farmed had been passed down for generations, from his great-great grandparents to his brother and him. Life with the task of harvesting some of the best agave and fermenting pulque was simple, rewarding, as well as joyful. The good and spiritually gifted men had no idea what lay ahead in the near future.
Revolution against the Porfiriato dictatorship over Mexico, headquartered in Mexico City, had erupted in the south of Mexico, for good reason at that! It quickly spread to all of Mexico. But the farmers and their families were hardly aware of it yet, as it had not yet impeded on their lives.
The blind farmer walked along with his mule Cocoa, talking to his two best friends, the two ancient spirits who aid him in everything he does every day, especially fermenting the best and strongest pulque for miles around—very strong pulque with added honey, milky and dry, cooked off of all the sweetness to a master’s craft expertise. The two sacred rabbits, of the 400 ancient rabbits, helped the blind farmer ferment the brew, as they had also done with his great-great grandfather. Only he could hear their voices and feel their spirit touch. This was his gift.
Yet, every so often, the blind farmer would stop and say softly, “Tepoztécatl, help me in this effort that I struggle to accomplish, gifts I shall place at your feet. Make my sacred rabbits strong and wise, for they are the best friends one could ask for.” Then he would slowly, carefully, continue his work, sacred rabbits ever present at his side, speaking their sacred rabbit language.
Each day, the blind farmer would recite a poem to his rabbit friends, eloquent words for the spirit from his heart and beautiful mind. Truly a gifted poet, never writing the poems down of course, because for 21 years he had been blind.
At 39 years of age, the blind farmer and his 40-year-old brother had worked their family farm since they were teenagers and Papa had gotten too old. The pulque brewery house had been newly built eight years ago. A good solid structure of stone and hardwood vegas, floors, as well as massive doors.
Twenty-one years ago, the farmer had contracted a bad eye infection in both eyes. He came down with a high fever, slipping into a coma. Actually, he was really in a vision state for a week. Then one morning, his wife and brother came into the room, where he was sitting up, blind, talking to his sacred rabbit friends and the spirits of their great-great-grandparents. Surprised, speechless, and relieved that he was conscious, all that his wife Elimalina and his brother Eduardo could do was stand there and listen.
Then the farmer, 18 years old, said to his 17-year-old wife, “It’s time to harvest, mija. Boil my bath water. Oh, and I am blind now—so be careful not to step on my spirit guides.”
His brother and wife did not understand. “What?”
“I am blind, I have lost my sight.”
Elimalina started to cry, and so did Eduardo. “And have you lost your mind, too?”
“No, no, mija. Why do you say this?”s
“What do you mean, don’t step on your spirit guides?”
“Oh, our family has long known these sacred rabbits. My great-great grandparents are here to open my . ears, so that I may hear their voices.”
She cried more, yet so it was—from then on, though blind, he needed no help going everywhere on the agave farm, led by the sacred rabbits. Yet only Eduardo accepted this, and would listen to advice from his younger brother, gained from the ancient spirits. Because they always told the blind farmer the correct things to do, always without fail. Eduardo may have encountered a problem to solve in daily farm life. He had only to ask his younger brother, “Hermano, what do we do about this?” His blind brother would reply, “Come back in half an hour. The rabbits and I will talk it over.” Sure enough, 100% of the time, a perfect solution came forth.
So Eduardo believed, very much so—he trusted the two sacred rabbits and his younger brother, the blind farmer. He saw many things happen with his brother that left no doubt. “He really does have unseen sacred rabbit friends from the spirit world.” And Eduardo respected this with great reverence and attention. These two brothers loved the farm; they were true jimados, born and bred. Agave fiber was in their flesh and bone.
Coa de jima in hand and Cocoa the mule braying loudly, the blind farmer, not yet a rebel, loaded the tool bag across Cocoa’s back as he prepared to go with Eduardo to haul back piñas and harvested agave sap. Eduardo was cutting and the blind farmer loading onto the wagon drawn by Cocoa, to be hauled back to the brew house. Suddenly the sacred rabbits began to chatter in their ancient language.
The blind farmer could sense that one rabbit quickly vanished in a flash and then returned a few moments later. The birds were silent, and the dogs by the house started barking. “Blind rebel!” the rabbits both said. “Trouble is coming; trouble is coming!” One rabbit was saying he had just then gone to the hillside. “Many bad men are coming. Trouble is coming. Beware, blind rebel!”
Cocoa started to buck a little and bray loudly. Though confused—“Am I a rebel?” the farmer thought—he said to the mule “Calm down, Cocoa. I know, I know.”
Suddenly there is a lot of yelling, and dogs barking and growling down by the main house. The blind farmer hears Eduardo rushing back towards the house, machete in hand, yelling, “Hey, what’s happening? Que pasa?”
But the sacred rabbits demand that the blind farmer come with them. “Come, hide by the river, come, let’s hurry!”
“Our children, my brother, and his wife Dolores, and Elimalina, I must go help my brother,” the blind farmer said.
“No worry farmer. The natural family is rising up—bees wasps, rattlesnakes, ants, birds, they will protect your children, brother, and wives. Come, come now farmer, we must hide you by the river. Let’s go!” So they led the blind farmer to the bosque along the river, and the trees sheltered him from the soldier’s view.
Three hours later, they returned to discover all the tools, wagon, pulque, and Cocoa were gone. And when the blind farmer came upon his wife, she said, “They took him; they took Eduard,” cried Elimalina. The children were crying, sitting in silence.
“Dolores is inside, she just cries and keeps cleaning, over and over. She is in shock, as the soldiers, federales, took Eduardo to prison.”
After the crying of the women and children ceased and silence fell, the blind farmer, now a rebel, stood and said, “Bring me my father’s rifle.”
“What, mi amor? What for?” Elimalina said.
“Bring it, mamacita! Bring me the rifle and my bandoleros, go!” She left the kitchen and returned shortly.
“They started to check the house, but did not find the secret hole in the bedroom floor. Here, mi amor,” she said, holding the rifle and the bandoleros filled with cartridges to his chest.
“I’m going to become a rebel and follow Pancho Villa!” I’m going to fight the federal army!”
His wife cried urgently, “No, mi amor! This is crazy! You are blind!”
“Mamacita, my beautiful wife.” These words always freeze her, because her husband cannot see her any longer, only holds a memory in his mind of pure, sure beauty. “So, listen, mi amor, please listen,” he continues. “I have my sacred friends, my friends the ancient rabbits, Ometotchli and Macuiltochtli, divine rabbits. They never fail me, as I am truly their beloved friend. They saved me from being taken just now with Eduardo, and told me the bees, and wasps would protect the house. They have been in and with my bloodline now for many generations. The next time I stand here, mi amor? I’ll be a hero for Mexico. And I’ll set Eduardo free if he is still alive. I give you my word. Now we must go to the hills, towards the camps of the rebel army following Pancho Villa.”
He stood up with his weapon and ammunition. “Do not worry, mi amor. After years, a lifetime, of growing maguey blanco, the cosmic energy flows through me in superfluity. I will be fine.”
The blind farmer walked unerringly out the door. She ran to him and hugged him, and he kissed and hugged her. Then he turned and walked up the path towards the mountains, in the direction of the rebel camps, his two sacred rabbits on either side, though she could not see them. She looked on in disbelief, and said softly, “How can a blind farmer be a rebel?”
But then she realized something, and thought that when the Federales were stealing all the pulque and tools, the wagons, horses and Cocoa, and capturing Eduardo, all of a sudden that swarm of bees had come, and the stinging red fire ants, and even a rattlesnake had bitten one of the soldiers, so that they had fled even faster than they came, leaving the women and children unmolested, and the house intact. “Oh, díos mio?! Something truly is going on here, something mystical! Eduardo always believed in my husband’s spirit rabbits and their advice. I must admit that they are real.”
Get the Book
Copies may be purchased through our friends at Burning Books or through the official support website. To inquire about bulk orders or other ways to support, feel free to contact members of his support team at email@example.com
About Oso Blanco (AKA Byron Shane Chubbuck): Byron Shane Chubbuck/Oso Blanco is a Cherokee Nation citizen who is also Choctaw and Celtic, a Wolf Clan Cherokee and a sovereign. He comes from the Chickamauga band, a direct descendant of Nancy Ward. He wrote his first book in the third grade, Shane the Crane Lost His Feather. He published Love Me, Rebel, Love Me in 2011. He won the Poet of the Year award from the New Mexico Poetry Society. He published his first poetry in 1988 in a Canyon City, Colorado newspaper. He has many poems in various poetry books published, and works with writers Elizabeth Frias and Joseph Jordan as well as Michael Novick. Byron Shane of Chubbuck has traveled all over Mexico and has a deep love for its amazing peoples. He has vast experiences in Pulque making, chemistry, ART and scraping a living from the ground up. He says to the Houseless—who he feeds and aids—“I have been you. You are me! I am commanded by my Creator to love all humanity and all Living Beings.” He is now in federal prison for the Robin-in-the-Hood bank robbery case. Byron and Michael have a deep love for all races and humanity. They see the revolution towards love and a new, good world, when all are free and treated with respect, as well as compassion.
Write to Oso Blanco
Byron Shane Chubbuck #07909-051
PO Box 3900
Adelanto, CA 92301
For more information on Oso Blanco, his case, and how to support him, visit the official support website at: https://freeosoblanco.org/